Ancestry of Amerindians and its Impact in Anthropology, Transplantation, HLA Pharmacogenomics and Epidemiology by HLA Study in Wiwa Colombian Population

Antonio Arnaiz-Villena1, *, Ester Muñiz1, *, Jose del Palacio-Gruber1, Cristina Campos1, Javier Alonso-Rubio1, Eduardo Gomez-Casado2, Filogonio Lopez-Pacheco3, Manuel Martin-Villa1, Carlos Silvera4
1 Department of Immunology, University Complutense, School of Medicine, Madrid Regional Blood Center, Madrid, Spain
2 Department of Inmunología Animal, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA), Autopista A6, Hipódromo, Madrid, Spain
3 Department of Molecular Biology, Instituto Nacional de Cardiología Ignacio Chávez, Mexico City, Mexico
4 Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia

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© Arnaiz-Villena et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to these authors at the Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Complutense, Pavilion 5, floor 4. Avda. Complutense s / n, 28040 Madrid, Spain; Tel: +34 91 3017354; E-mail:; Web page: http://chopo.pntic.mec. es/biolmol/



HLA autosomic genes are unique because they conform the most polymorphic human system. Importance of this system is recognized in Medicine for Transplantation, Epidemiology (HLA and disease linkage), Pharmacogenomics (HLA linked to drug side effects) and for defining the origin of populations in both male and female lineages.


Studying HLA profile of a isolated Amerindian group from North Colombia (Wiwa) in order to draw conclusions about its Preventive Medicine, the genetic relationship with Worldwide populations and America peopling, since this last issue is hotly debated.


A total of 14,660 HLA chromosomes were included. Peripheral blood was obtained from volunteer blood donors belonging to Wiwa (also named Arsario) ethnic group. HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1 and -DQB1 genes were analyzed by standard methods. Wiwa Amerindians relationships with others were calculated by using Arlequin, Dispan and Vista software computer packages.


Extended HLA, -A, -B, -C, -DRB1 and -DQB1 haplotypes have been studied for the first time in this population. Classical Amerindian haplotypes have been found and also new Wiwa (Arsario) Amerindian haplotypes. New haplotypes are A*68:01 - B*15:01 - C*03:03 - DRB1*14:02 - DQB1*03:02, A*11:01 - B*07:02 - C*07:02 - DRB1*15:03 - DQB1*06:02 and A*68:01 - B*15:01 - C*03:04 - DRB1*14:02 - DQB1*03:01.


They have been reached after exhaustive comparisons of Wiwa with other Amerindians and Worldwide populations by using genetic distances, Neighbor Joining trees, correspondence analysis and specific group of alleles which are common and frequent in both Amerindians and Pacific Islanders. They are: 1) The Americas First Inhabitants have been probably come through Bering Strait and also through Pacific (from Austronesia and Asia) and Atlantic (from Europe) routes. A bidirectional gene flow is not discarded. 2) Genetic HLA Amerindian profile is separated from that of other Worldwide populations. 3) Amerindians geographical proximity groups’ relatedness is not concordant with HLA genetic relatedness, neither with language. This may be explained by a substantial population decrease that occurred after Europeans invaded America in 1492 and carried new pathogens and epidemics. 4) Our results are also useful for Wiwa and other Amerindians future preventive medicine (HLA linked diseases), HLA pharmacogenomics and transplantation regional programs.

Keywords: Amerindians, Americas peopling, Ancestry, Arsario, HLA, Epidemiology, Wiwa, Pharmacogenomics, Transplant.